Mexico

Interview: Kary Rivera on Making Statement Purses and Her Dream for Young Girls

Interview: Kary Rivera on Making Statement Purses and Her Dream for Young Girls

Image: courtesy of Kary Rivera
See the beauty of Mexico City through the eyes of handbag designer Kary Rivera, who founded one of the city’s breakout fashion labels, María Rufina. Including origami-like aesthetic and foldable features in her work, Kary is on a mission to empower the next generation of young women and renew Mexico’s fashion image worldwide. We caught up with the designer to see what inspires her, the ideology behind the brand, and her favorite thing about her hometown.

1) Did you always want to be a designer?

Since I was a child, I admired how my mom and my sister drew. The first time I became interested in studying design was because of an interview that I watched on TV of a Spanish designer named Jordi Lavanda who is a fashion illustrator. I loved his work. Then, when I was studying graphic design, I discovered the industrial design world. I didn’t know anything about it: The Bauhaus, the fusion between art, and design applied to objects and everything you could do there. I fell in love.

2) What is the origin of María Rufina?

María Rufina comes from the interest in combining a traditional Mexican name with a contemporary name. María is the most common female name in Mexico. And Rufina is the name of my dog, a nine-year-old Xoloitzcuintle. For me, it was having found the perfect combination — a typical Mexican name along with the name of a being that I love deeply. In this way, I want to project through the name that Mexican design manages to combine global trends with national elements and concepts, achieving a particular identity.

3) How did you first come up with the idea for your signature bag?

During my last year studying industrial design at college, I had to choose a final topic to develop so I could get my degree. At that time, I felt like I had a creative block. But one night I was sleeping and had a dream that several models, fashion models, walked through the runway with geometrical handbags of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Waking up, I knew that handbag had to be my project, so I started creating it. And I haven’t stopped since then.

4) Why do you create with neoprene?

During my last year studying industrial design at college, I had to choose a final topic to develop so I could get my degree. At that time, I felt like I had a creative block. But one night I was sleeping and had a dream that several models, fashion models, walked through the runway with geometrical handbags of different sizes, shapes and colors. Waking up, I knew that handbag had to be my project, so I started creating it. And I haven’t stopped since then.

5) What inspires you most?

I’m inspired by female empowerment, social injustices, and the development of self-awareness. It inspires me to know that I can leave a better world for the next generation. I want to be a role model for those girls who think they can’t be transcendent and change the world we live in.

6) What's your favorite place in Mexico City? Favorite thing to do?

I like to ride my bike, exercise, travel and find new places to eat. My favorite place in Mexico City is our lake “El Lago de Chapultepec” To get there, I usually pass through the main avenue “Paseo de la Reforma” on my bike. Also, I play soccer, and I love having my family and friends cheering me on at every game.

7) What do you want your brand to signify?

I want Maria Rufina to be found as a unique and innovative Mexican brand. I want to offer a functional innovative product that could help stand out and redefine the concept of what Mexican design is, adding extra value in aspects like functionality, versatility, and folding features. This could be translated as a sophisticated, high quality design object. I think Mexican design has so many things to offer worldwide because it combines global tendencies with our own particular culture concepts, achieving a very unique identity.

Mexico City’s Breakout Handbags Embrace Originality Like No Other

Mexico City’s Breakout Handbags Embrace Originality Like No Other

Image: María Rufina website
Think origami lover meets industrial design artist and you have a recipe for María Rufina’s breakout handbags. Based in Mexico City, this contemporary company makes geometrical purses but with a twist. They are foldable. Yep, that’s right, fashion handbags that can be easily disassembled to fit in a gym or travel bag.

About the Brand

Founded by Kary Rivera, María Rufina is at the forefront of Mexico’s burgeoning fashion scene. The brand’s prototypical design was once a college final project, and literally, a dream come true for the former student who was facing a bout of creative block (read interview here). Since then, the idea has flourished and now includes a collection of purses and wallets.

Moldable Handbags

The collection offers four main styles in the iconic origami inspired aesthetic and a few classic styles. Bags come with a colorful interior that can be selected by the customer, and are made out of neoprene or leather. However, the signature is the folding shopper which comes with short or long handles, is moldable and has a folding feature. For a more in-depth look at this model, check out our review. With a selection of unique handbags for the offering, there is sure to be one that captivates you.

Where to Buy

Shop the collection at María Rufina online. Please note, prices may be listed in MXD($) and need to be converted to USD($).

Architecture Meets Fashion with Cihuah’s Geometric Infused Clothes

Architecture Meets Fashion with Cihuah’s Geometric Infused Clothes

Image: Cihuah website
When you crave “something different” but want something that can be paired with everything; when you forgo balance for imbalance and feel like black/white or both, Cihuah, made for women by women, is a brand which captures that spirit to the core.

About the Brand

Cihuah (pronounced “See-whuah”) means women in Nahuatl, one of Mexico’s indigenous languages, and pays homage to that ancestry. The brand’s founder, Vanessa Guckel, who is French, began her career in architecture before transitioning into fashion. Those influences—portion and deconstruction—combined with Mexico’s ancestral roots, are apparent in the geometric theme of the clothing.

The Collection

Each collection is made for women to feel strong and independent. With bold, asymmetrical shapes the label emboldens women to own their individuality.  By weaving basic colors, black and white with reinvented garments, women can feel chic and confident while at work. Also, keeping social conscientiousness in mind, the brand is an advocate for vegan leather and thus creates with it.

Where to Buy

To see the full collection, including bags and jewelry, and to purchase, visit Cihuah online. Note, prices are listed in pesos and may need to be converted. Or, if in Mexico City, stop by the flagship store.

Casual Summer Office Styling with Cowboy Boots

Casual Summer Office Styling with Cowboy Boots

All images from Nordstrom's website unless noted
Cowboy boots are surging ahead on the fashion comeback. In fact, they are the only shoes you will need this summer. Don’t believe us? They are carefree, fun, and versatile just like summer should be. With low-riders, splashy colors, and embroidery, they are more stylish than ever. Let us prove it. We have rounded up some spectacular styles for you to indulge in that can seamlessly be paired with your office best or causal look. (See our June Newsletter for complete looks.)

1) Pikolinos – Vergel

Turn up the heat in these embroidered, old-fashion, low-rider cowboy’s. These boots offer just enough spark to set-off any outfit while maintaining an easygoing chill.

2) Ariat – Dixon Rock n Roll

Add a little rock n roll to western and voila. Fully embrace the quintessential summer theme, show off a little skin but not too much. This design goes nicely with warm weather office trends.

3) Cuardra – Conical Heel

Stunning and sleek, these slanted heel Western-inspired boots take it to the next level. For a genius idea, mix these bombshells with an off-white, sharp look and watch how they stare.
Image from Cuadra website

4) Caarmela – Carreño

Absolutely ideal for summer rotation, these Caarmela booties are business in the front and anything but in the back.  A nice sandal bootie that can be worn with anything.
Image from Caarmela website

5) Matisse – Desire

Throw some color on your feet with these cowboys. Perfect for adding panache to a monochromatic outfit. Or pair them with a front split, lightweight dress or skirt to parade your confidence. (These boots would go well with dresses from this brand)

Jump into the Season with Booties That Pay Ode to Mexico’s Heritage

Jump into the Season with Booties That Pay Ode to Mexico’s Heritage

Image from Caarmela website
Looking for shoes that can take you from spring to summer and well into fall? Carmella’s, especially its Carreño bootie, is a fun way to dress up or down for the office and explore the world of Mexican fashion.

About the Company

Caarmela is a Mexican footwear brand and concept store (Caarmela House) featuring independent designers. The company opened it location in Mexico City in 2016, and since has been a source of womenswear grounded in femininity and strength.

Collection

Caarmela’s shoes are handmade in Mexico and sourced from the city of León, which is known for its quality leather. The footwear ranges from boots influenced by Latin American culture to oxfords infused with contemporary aesthetics. Its collection brings the history of women from the past to the future.

Where to Purchase

Caarmela’s footwear and other local brands can be purchased at Caarmela House’s storefront in Mexico City or on the website. Note, prices are listed in Mexican pesos.